God's Pantry Food Bank is launching a $3.5 million capital campaign to try to help the growing numbers of people going hungry in Central and Eastern Kentucky.
The Come to the Table campaign will allow the food bank to renovate its existing headquarters in Lexington to store more fresh produce, add a receiving warehouse in Winchester and satellite sites in the Morehead and London/Corbin areas, and add to its fleet of vehicles that transport food throughout the group's 16,000-square-mile, 50-county service area.
"We believe that by increasing our ability to bring in more food, send out more food, and provide our member agencies with the resources to receive and distribute more food, we will create a more powerful network to fight against hunger," said Marian Guinn, chief executive of God's Pantry Food Bank.
"Today we are inviting everyone to Come to the Table and help us put more food on the tables of struggling Kentuckians."
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God's Pantry is a food bank that helps provide food at more than 275 emergency feeding sites in Central and Eastern Kentucky, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers and after-school programs.
Those programs fed more than 211,000 people in 2010, but the numbers in need have risen about 30 percent every year, organizers said.
The capital campaign will allow the group to enlarge the refrigeration system at the headquarters on Jaggie Fox Way, allowing room for more fresh produce.
Last year, God's Pantry distributed 6.1 million pounds of fresh produce, which was nearly 27 percent of the overall distribution of 22.9 million pounds in fiscal year 2011.
In addition to its satellite warehouse in Prestonsburg, God's Pantry will add sites in Morehead and London/Corbin, and a receiving warehouse in Winchester. The food bank also plans to enhance its ability to deliver large amounts of food by adding the first tractor-trailer to its fleet.
About $2.8 million has already been raised in the campaign. University of Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips and his wife, Leslie Phillips, are honorary chairs.
For more information on the Come to the Table campaign, go to Godspantry.org.